Protecting the planet while checking off the items on your shopping list don’t always go hand-in-hand, but some retailers are making it easier to shop green with new eco-friendly initiatives.
Here’s a look at how some of your favorite places to shop are helping do well, not just by shopping moms, but by Mother Earth, too.
Marriott International has just announced that it plans to eliminate all single-use shower toiletries from its properties worldwide. This is an expansion on a company initiative that was first launched in 2018. Marriott hopes to prevent about 500 million tiny bottles from ending up in landfills each year. The properties will instead feature larger, pump-topped bottles in guest room showers. As Marriott explained in a press release, a larger bottle contains the same amount of product as 10 to 12 mini bottles, which are typically not recycled and end up in the trash.
Toy maker Hasbro has just announced that it plans to eliminate all plastic in its packaging by the end of 2022. Starting in 2020 the company will be phasing out plastic from new product packaging, including plastic elements like polybags, elastic bands, shrink wrap, window sheets and blister packs. Hasbro already committed to eliminating wire ties in 2010 and adding How2Recycle labeling in 2016. Recently Hasbro also established a toy recycling program with TerraCycle, which accepts "well-loved Hasbro toys and games" to be recycled into materials to be used in the construction of play spaces, flowerpots, park benches and other uses.
How often do the remaining pieces of the travel-sized bar of soap in your hotel bathroom end up in the trash? Instead of tossing the bars, Hilton Hotels is reusing them—but not in a leave-used-bars-for-the-next-guest, unsanitary type of way. Instead, the hotel chain is collaborating with Clean the World to melt down old bars and create new, recycled ones. The recycled soap won't stay in the hotels, but instead will go to people in need.
According to recent reports, Coca-Cola aims to make all packaging fully recyclable by 2025. The company also wants to make sure everyone can recycle every Coke product—setting a lofty goal to collect and recycle every bottle (or the equivalent of every bottle) sold by 2030. As it works on its eco-goals, the Coca Cola Foundation is greening the planet by funding several environmental organizations with grants totaling $5.4 million.
Walgreens and Kroger
What do these two retailers have in common? They're now using the eco-friendly delivery service Loop. Even though it's still in the pilot phase (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, D.C. are the first states to have access), Loop is an in-demand circular shopping experience. After signing up for the program all you need to do is order participating products from Walgreens or Kroger. Loop sends you the items in a reusable tote, you use your purchases and then you return the packaging to Loop. The company reuses the leftover packaging, refilling it for future use.
With IKEA’s People and Planet Positive sustainability strategy, 60 percent of all raw materials sourced by the home furnishings giant to produce its products during 2018 were from renewable sources, like cotton and bamboo. IKEA plans for that figure to hit 100 percent by 2030. The company has also launched dozens of products designed to help consumers live greener, from meatless meatballs to energy-efficient lighting.
What's Target's biggest eco-target? Eradicating its carbon footprint. Target's three step strategy includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its facilities, reducing emissions from energy the company purchases to power its facilities and decreasing emissions generated from the company’s entire supply chain. Some of the steps Target plans to take include using LED lights in company buildings and installing solar rooftop panels in 500 locations by the year 2020.
In early 2019, Trader Joe’s adopted a new initiative to reduce packaging waste in all of its stores. Its new strategy includes removing unnecessary packaging, sourcing renewable and recycled packaging materials, choosing recyclable packaging, avoiding packaging made with harmful substances and educating consumers on best recycling and disposal practices.
This big box retailer committed to everyday low prices has also committed to sustainable practices across the board. Walmart has converted 28 percent of of the energy sources powering its stores and operations globally to renewables and diverted 78 percent of its global waste from landfills by finding ways to recycle, reuse or even sell the garbage. The company’s goal is to get to 50 percent renewables and zero waste in Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom and United States by 2025.
Whole Foods has just awarded $1.2 million dollars to schools across the country through its Whole Kids Foundation. The grants are designed to enable schools to build or maintain edible gardens that can teach kids about the importance of nutrition and developing healthy diets. The grocery chain is also going green with a commitment to eliminate plastic straws. The retailer will offer recyclable, compostable paper straws to customers ordering drinks and smoothies in its stores by July 2019.
Costco recently joined the How2Recycle label program. The labeling program establishes a standardized system that identifies each part of the packaging and how to recycle for optimum recovery.
Pretty soon you’ll be sipping those Frapps without a straw. Starbucks has vowed to eliminate all of those famous green plastic straws by 2020. The company will offer straw-free lids on all of its cold beverages at over 28,000 locations across the globe.
Aldi has just committed to making 100 percent of its packaging, including plastic, reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. The company has also committed to reducing all of its product packaging by 15 percent.
While not a brick-and-mortar store like those above, the online source for all things handmade recently announced in February 2019, it became the first global e-commerce company to offset 100 percent of carbon emissions from shipping. To put that in perspective, since the company's announcement, Etsy will have offset approximately 22,500 metric tons of carbon—or the equivalent of not charging nearly 3 billion cell phones!
—Shahrzad Warkentin and Erica Loop
Featured photo: Courtesy of Whole Foods